It’s giveaway time! We’re giving away a complete set of 20 Minifigures from The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures series.
The Giveaway Rules
For your chance to win, simply post a photo of Ninjago, Ninjas, Chimjago (Chima/Ninjago mash up), Dragons, or any photo related to the covert agents of Japan or the Ninjago universe.
The competition is open to all toys, and will run on Instagram and G+. Whether you post on Instagram or G+, make sure to add the #tp_ninjago tag so we can find your entries.
You can enter as many times as you want. The giveaway is open to all and we’ll post the full set of Minifigures anywhere in the world.
As this series of Minifigures is full of creativity and whimsy, we’ll be looking for fun, creative, clever photos showcasing not only the subject matter, but also good photography. Shelly has written some wonderful posts on the basics if you need a refresher or some guidance; the basics part 1, part 2 and part 3. And here’s the link to our review of The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures for inspiration and motivation.
Entries close on Friday the 4th of August, giving us time to select a winner over that weekend and announce it the following week.
Go get creating!
So, get your thinking caps on and get creating. Or should that be your “thinking Ninja Zukins”?
Good luck! We’re looking forward to seeing all your wonderful entries. We’re even looking forward to the usual struggle of picking just one winner that we go through with each of our giveaways!
If you enjoy posts like this, we invite you to join our G+ community. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when we have a new post ready for you.
Summers are for vacations and vacations are for reading. Who doesn’t have a stack of books waiting for the time to read them? Because I love reading, I thought I would share the books that I’ve read that have shaped my photography. If you’ve been following the blog for any length of time, several of these books will already be familiar to you. Even though I’ve talked about them before, I thought it would be nice to put them all in one place.
In fact, many of my past blog posts have been inspired by these books. I often cruise bookstores looking for interesting titles. Beside bookstores I also ask my fellow photographers to recommend their favorite books. By doing this, I make sure I break out of my comfort zone. These books inspire me creatively, encourage me to think about photography as well as reinforce basic concepts of both art and photography.
Without further ado, here is what sits on my reference shelf. These are the books that challenge me when I’m lacking motivation. If you’re looking for a book to mix in with your summer reading, take a look at this list and see if anything strikes your fancy.
This is book is the epitome of the quick read. More reference book than prose, this book tackles the art concepts you should have a basic understanding of if you graduated from art school. I picked up this book to not only refresh my memory about what I (supposedly) learned in art school. By reading this book I learned I missed out on a lot in five years of university art education. Either that, or I understand these concepts so much better after struggling with them for years.
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn basic art concepts. Ideas like “Context determines meaning”, “Sincerity is a non-value in art” and “Art can be anything”. While each page is only one short paragraph, the ideas being conveyed, will have you thinking for hours.
This book is the corner stone of my library. I turn to Art & Fear when I’m plagued by doubts. Those frequent and familiar doubts we all have: Am I good enough? Will anyone care? Am I an artist? These doubts have been with me for as long as I can remember. They are old friends Ive made peace with and this book was the first step in that process. By reading (and re-reading) this book, I know I’m not alone, these doubts are unique to me.
Besides being an antidote to personal fears of failure, Art and Fear, explains the artistic process. It seems that uncertainty, doubt and failure is part of the process. This books helps to put this in perspective and give you the tools to keep the creativity flowing. I feel that this book is a mandatory read for any creative person. If you read only one book about the creative process, make it this one.
This is one of those books recommended to me that I doubt I would have found on my own. While Barthes’ book has been around for years, I was only exposed to it recently. Reflections on Photography is more a philosophy book than a photography book. If you’re interested in the ephemeral nature of the photographic image, how images are perceived by the viewer or man’s need to document the passage of time, then I highly recommend this book.
I’m not even remotely qualified to review this book. This is a book that every dedicated photographer should read if for no other reason in that this book defines modern photography more than any other. Her eight short essays have guided the photography debate for decades. Read the book, get back to me and we can have a discussion. In the mean time, I will be re-reading it myself.
This is a difficult and challenging book. Like all difficult and challenging tasks, you get back what you put into it ten fold. This book is exactly as the title descirbes: 307 assignments and ideas from famous photographers and photography teachers. These assignments are meant to help you focus your thought process. These teachers aren’t concerned about what you create, but the ideas behind those creations. These are assignments are meant to help you look at the world differently, to teach you ‘see’ like a photographer and to face your own photographic fears.
If you’ve ever wondered what its like to take photography classes at the university level, this is the book for you. Even if you never complete any of the assignments, reading the reflections from this collection will help you to think about photography in new and exciting ways. This is a great book if your ready for a challenge.
Such a simple title. This is the book for you if you want to improve your basic photography skills. Each page is a single photographic concept explained in simple and easy to understand terms. A photograph also accompanies each of these topics from a photographic legend that illustrates the concept. The layout is easy to ready, and very user friendly. With chapter titles like: Composition, Exposure, Light, Lenses and Seeing, you know he’s covering all the basics. The section on Exposure is one of the best explanations of the relationship between shutter speed, ISO and F-Stop I’ve seen.
This is a great book for beginners as well as a refresher for more experienced photographers. It will be the perfect quick reference book for your growing library.
I know what you’re thinking, “Why are you recommending a book about portraits?” I’m recommending this book because I think that many of us are really taking portraits of our toys. This book continues the discussion started in “How to take great photographs” and applies the same ideas to portraits. In concise and easy to understand language it shows you how to manipulate viewpoint, color and composition to create visual stories with depth.
I like how this book helps you to focus on the relationship between photographer, subject and viewer. So often we forget the viewer is a part of the equation, when they are the most important part of the triangle.
This is the book that put Austin Kleon on the map. I like to think of it as Art & Fear light. Kleon covers many of the same ideas written about in Art & Fear, but he presents them in short, easily digestible bites for the age of the Internet. There are lots of great graphics to keep you entertained as you move through this short book.
If you’re feeling creatively burned out, this is the perfect book to inspire you. There are many great ideas on how to keep your creativity flowing. It also explains clearly the difference between stealing someone else’s ideas and being inspired by them. While I tend to like my books a little heavier hitting, I think this little nugget deserves a place on your artists reference shelf.
This slim little volume attempts to explain the Japanese concept of Wabi-Sabi. Have you ever wondered why photographers like to take photos of rusty metal, or abandoned towns, or toy rooms? This book will help you understand the idea of wabi-sabi and the beauty of a hand made object, imperfections and fading beauty.
Personally, I’m trying to figure out if the idea of wabi-sabi can be applied to the world of plastic. Stay tuned, we may be creating a challenge around wabi-sabi in our G+ Community.
I picked this book up because Modern Photography is an amorphous beast of different genres and styles. Photography is more than the finished product; it is also the representation of an idea. Those ideas can be represented in different styles and genres. This book breaks down modern photography into six distinct catagories: portraits, document, still life’s, narrative, landscapes and abstracts.
Within each section a wide variety of photographers are shown whose work exemplifies the many different possibilities these categories represent. Each photographer has a detailed explanation of why this photographer is important, a brief history of their work and the idea behind it. This book is a concise history lesson of the post modern photographic world. In reading this book I was reminded of how malleable the photographic medium can be. This book showcases some of the more innovative and successful photographers working today. If you’re curious how far photographers are pushing the boundaries of this medium – this is a great place to start.
What Books Are on you Reference Shelf
Photography is more than just an image to be published on social media. It’s a form of artistic expression, a language, a way to tell a story. I want to understand why I’m attracted to the photographic process. Reading books, helps me to find those answers.
So while you’re dragging around your toys to photograph this summer, why don’t you throw in a book as well? See how the written word can spark your imagination, inspire you to think deeper about your images, give you the skills and confidence in the knowledge you already know. Books are an amazing resource for the artist and I encourage you to take a deep dive into one of these, or another of your choice.
In the next few months I will go back and re read Barthes and Sontag. I need to read some books multiple times to understand them and I put these two squarely in that category. I also will be reading Art as Therapy by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong. Insure I will be talking about this one in some future blog post! If there is anything else you think I should read, feel free to recommend your favorites in the comments.
What books about photography and / or the artistic process have you read and enjoyed?
I encourage you to sign up for our weekly email round-up or join our G+ Community were we hold month contests with prizes for the winner!
Our friends at LEGO sent us a box of the Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures to review. Here it is…
Lloyd (or L-Loyd according to his dad) comes in a green hoodie printed top, with a new headpiece for the hood with his fringe poking out below, which allows for greater head movement.
His black jeans are held up with a brown belt. The silver spoon and white bowl with blue trim and dragon motif are great accessories.
What appears to be a standard Ninjago inclusion, Lloyd offers up so much more. His Ninja headgear is two-piece, with the upper piece with a green scarf and golden printed emblem. He also has his blonde tussled hair should he want to reveal his identity from under his mask. The printing on the legs, arms and the front and back of the torso is great.
The gold tasselled, silver sword is another great addition.
He also carries a 2×3 tile with blueprints to a dragon printed on it.
Lloyd’s mom Misako’s hair and torso are fabulous. Her orange hair is held back in a bun with two red chopsticks. Her sand green jacket has some golden floral motifs added, a name tag with “koko” on it and sits over a white blouse.
The two gold buttons of her brown are doubled to four with the pant print continuing to the torso, just as the gold floral motif of the jacket does to the legs.
Much of the print on Master Wu’s torso is hidden under his beard, which is a shame. The traditional top includes arm printing and a traditional emblem in red on the back.
The addition of a ‘skirt’ to extend the printing of the torso and add ‘length to the top is a nice touch. His tan legs include sandal printing on the feet.
The Corn Flakes box is a great addition which no doubt will make its way into many LEGO photos.
Kai has some pretty standard Ninjago printing under his Kendo armour, which is mostly hidden. Under the Kendo helmet his angry face is scarred on both eyebrows, with one still sporting a Band-Aid, and that impossibly high messy hair.
How does he squoosh all that hair under his Kendo helmet?
Zane comes with a printed backpack similar to the hiker in CMF series 16. A retro 8-bit aliens sweater vest tops his pleated white pants with black belt and black shoes. The sweater vest is so cool. I hope LEGO make these in my size, ready for Christmas!
His flat top hairdo is buzzed down to at least a number one with the faded printing on his head. Finally, one of these guys has found a comb!
Spinjitzu Training Nya
On first opening the bag, I thought Nya was a little dull. But I was wrong.
She’s the strong female character I’ve been craving. A determined look sits under her black hair tied up with a gold band. Her white ninja gi (uniform) has some wonderful black and gold details, including Mater Wu emblems emblazoned on the front and back.
Brandishing two wooden swords, I wouldn’t mess with her.
Cole’s angry sneer and cropped black messy hair sit above a muscle top with what I can only assume is a Ninjago nod to ACDC with the four symbols parted by their iconic lightning bolt.
The back of this muscle top has “World Tour 1985” with a list of venues in white with “SOLD OUT” printed over it in red.
His ghetto blaster is obviously for blasting his favourite tunes from that sold out world tour.
With printed glasses that remind me of Robin’s moulded ones from the Batman Movie, it’s a nice tie in with the Batman logo on the t-shirt she wears under her lab coat. The lab coat is printed with a pen in her top pocket and the label “GIT”. The lab coat printing continues onto her legs with another two pockets.
Carrying a black laptop and red coffee cup, she’s no doubt wired for some serious lab work.
A nod to the Korean K-POP, she is pure pastel cuteness; from her pink and blue Harley Quinn hair, all the way to her heart printed green and blue shoes with pink laces.
She wears lollypop pink and white striped tights are under her pink, green and yellow printed tutu.
Her top is printed with Unikitty on the front and even more love hearts on the back. A pink teddy bear is added just in case you haven’t had enough cuteness.
What is it with Ninjago? Doesn’t anyone own a hairbrush? Jay’s messy hair sits atop a somewhat embarrassed look on his face.
Maybe it’s because of the selfie-stick he’s wielding?
One thing’s for sure, he can’t be ashamed of that snazzy orange scarf he’s wearing! Hopefully we’ll see some more colour variations of these!
I really like this guy. His cheeky moustachioed smirking face is topped with a black and white printed headband similar to the series 16 scallywag pirate. The subtle prawn prints on this uniform are a cool touch.
His trusty cleaver has sliced off a bite size piece from his expertly rolled sushi. I can only imagine what he’d make of the Shark Army? Something oishii no doubt!
Gong & Guitar Rocker
I REALLY like this guy! It’s amazing what a different hair colour and headband can do. The series 7 hippy’s hair turned died black and his orange headband exchanged for red, becomes pure metal! His studded belt, chain, ripped jeans (or maybe they’re leggings?) and white high top boots are straight out of a late 80s film clip!
His red muscle top is printed with a white skull and crossbones and a black slogan. He’s got a black dragon tattoo and a black sweatband, undoubtedly for wiping the sweat of his brow after slaying another lengthy lead break! He’s the only two sided head print, one pretty neutral, and the other one absolute “rocking out” perfection!
“Lord Garmadon developed an extra set of arms in order to possess the Four Golden Weapons.” This, and who Misako was, is the only research I did for this review. It still means little to me, but gee, Lord Garmadon is a cool Minifigure!
He looms over his enemies, dressed in typical bad guy black with printed armour. His sneering head print is reminiscent of Kabuki samurai makeup, which is cool!
I can only assume this is a reference to the movie and it will shed more light on this groovy looking version of Garmadon?
His brown on brown attire with its collars that threaten take flight in a strong wind, obscenely wide tie and aviator shades are straight out of the 70s. The printed tile is obviously a reference to his “Underworld” kingdom, but in happier times with the white picket fence.
Gone is Garmadon’s sneer, replaced with a grin. And why wouldn’t he grin? He’s got his comfy volcano patented pyjamas on, and a bowl and spoon for his late night snack.
I don’t know how comfortable that headpiece is for his slumber party, but I still want to be invited!
Shark Army General #1
The General’s worried look might because she’s worried the N-POP girl is eyeing off her pink milkshake?
Or perhaps it’s a look of concern that her scaly double cape is about to be caught in the wind? Or perhaps it’s the strain of having to wear all her accolades on her uniform? I don’t know! I do know that the fish scale printing on her legs is cool though!
Shark Army Great White
This Great White has copped a battering (no pun intended). His dark blue uniform is fantastically adorned with gold medals and chains, many with underwater motifs, but the singed marks on his legs, torso and arm show signs of battle. The black shark headpiece also bores some scolded battle scars.
And his scuba tank’s battery life is critically low. No wonder he looks so grumpy! But how can he be grumpy, he’s brandishing a flaming new black fish!
Shark Army Angler
The Anglerfish headpiece is super cool with its hypnotic eyes and dangling lure. Underneath, there is scarred female Shark Army member with lipstick and eye shadow printing.
A single scuba tank body wear also the printed battery life on the front it. The fishy mace is a cool little weapon.
Shark Army Octopus
Another scarred head sits underneath the wonderful octopus headpiece. Man these Shark Army guys have some war wounds! Although, I can’t help but wonder where the eighth octopus leg went. There’s only seven?
Like the Angler, the torso is standard and the scuba tank’s battery life is OK. He’s armed with a silver fish and a shooter (the first of these in a CMF series?).
As someone who has never really been into Ninjago, I was dubious about a Collectible Minifigure Series I didn’t really know about. I was wrong. Even to those like me that know little about Ninjago, this series offers so much. There isn’t one Minifigure in the series that disappoints.
Thanks to our friends at LEGO, especially Kim, for giving us the opportunity to review this wonderful series of The Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures. The series is due for official release on August the 1st.
Stay tuned for details of the upcoming giveaway where you could win a complete set of 20 Ninjago Movie Collectable Minifigures!
Who is your favourite from this upcoming series? What about accessories? What has caught your eye?
If you enjoy posts like this, we invite you to join our G+ community.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog to get notified when we have a new post ready for you.
Making a 52 project on the theme of reflections has made me realize that I really love water piles, raindrops and how water ripples around toys. Puddles are made for toys.
I have a softspot for puddles
I have always known that I have a softspot for water puddles. But doing this 52-week challenge have made me lie down on the ground for hours just to get a image. This is, or was at some point, something of a novelty for me. I do this to get to the light, the movement in the water, or the right background, the reflection and the right focus or even no focus.
Another insight that I gained from this project is that I just don’t settle for the first puddle that comes my way (I use to do that). Now I inspect them before I start. Is the light right? But it doesn’t end there because I also look at the environment – because it’s also very important. For some reason, parking lots work very well. Maybe because the puddles remain there? Maybe because I can work there without interruptions? I’m not sure. Continue reading Look again and you will see more than the puddles
Our most recent photo challenge in the Toy Photographers G+ Community is Lightness. We want to see how you can express a word with many meanings through your toy photography. Because the month is nearly half over; its time to get serious about the competition. For this reason I want to talk about the idea of Lightness and what it means to me. I believe a single word can inspire creativity.
Here are a few meanings for the word Lightness and my own interpretations:
the state or quality of being light in weight
Flying shots are a staple of many toy photographers. The ability to create the illusion of flight, motion, swinging is important if your toys fly through the air, either on wings or by the use of webs. Continue reading Lightness: A Photo Challenge
It’s been over a month since I pulled back on Instagram posting. And while I’ve been away, I’ve been feasting on feedback and gorging myself on inspiration in a new town.
Apart from pushing my posts here, the G+ monthly challenge, joining in the Raptor Pack day and #brickstameet, I haven’t posted any photos that weren’t either in support of an event or to promote another platform. Instead I’ve focussed on the blog and the G+ Toy Photographers community.
Quality or quantity
Quality or quantity
Quality or quantity a choice you have to make
Bad Religion – Quality or Quantity
And whilst on this self-imposed sabbatical, it’s dawned on me what I’d been craving. I‘ve been missing a sense of belonging, meaningful rapport, a sense of community. This is what I find in the G+ community; the clue’s in the title!Continue reading Feasting on Feedback
Attention to detail is what you do to avoid excessive amounts of post production and as much future image chasing as possible. While working on a macro scale, paying attention to the little details can make or break a photo. While I enjoy spend my photo adventures chasing “that” shot, occasionally, I do like to succeed. Usually I’m forced to ‘chase’ a photo not because I’m seeking the perfect light or location, but because I missed something important. I wasn’t paying attention to the details.
Sometimes I miss flotsam in the water or a bit of tack showing under a mini figures foot. At other times a leaf or blade of grass is a distraction in the frame. And that is just a few of the details that can escape the eye when photographing in the great outdoors. It is these little details that I need to be hyper aware of when setting up my scene. If I’m successful, I can save myself hours of post production work.
For forever and a day I shall chase that White Whale
We’ve all spent time searching for that shot; the elusive White Whale, the Holy Grail that thwarts us. Chasing that shot is a fruitless, all-consuming quest. Or is it?
Drown like Captain Ahab Trying to slay that Great White Whale So tied up in their own rules People jump ship and they fail Jello Biafra with the Melvins – Lessons in What Not to Become
I’ve got a handful of shots in my mind that I’ve wanted to capture for some time now. Some of these have haunted me for years, taunting me with their imagined exactness.
Many of them come out with me in search for their ideal locale, more times than not returning empty-handed. They scoff at the bland parodies of their imagined precision. Their jeers at my bids to replicate them follow me to every fresh attempt.
“You don’t photograph because you have a camera. You photograph because you have eyes and you have something to say.” Robert Frank
When I was in Chicago recently I saw this quote on the wall of an exhibit of Robert Frank photos. Even though Robert Frank helped to define the genre of street photography, his ideas on photography are useful across all genres; even toy photography.
I was out with two friends recently for a full days adventure of toy photography (and fishing). I came prepared. In my box of toys, I had many little potential scenes ready to go. I only needed to find the perfect backdrop and lighting. Continue reading Have Something to Say